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Third Women's March in Cleveland Focuses on Voting, Diversity

photo of womens march
The women's march began at Public Square and concluded nearby at the Old Stone Church.

The snow didn’t stop hundreds of people from attending the third annual Cleveland Women’s March over the weekend.

The event – which is focused on harnessing the political power of women to create social change -- started downtown on Public Square with brief speeches before the crowd marched for several blocks. They eventually circled back to the Old Stone Church to hear more speakers, including Juanita Brent. She was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives last fall, representing Cleveland’s southwest suburbs in the 12th district. She says she noticed more diversity among the crowd compared to last year.

“We realized that we can’t have just white women or just young women. We need women of all different types of ages, economics, races [and] religions working together.”

Brent says marching is only part of the work needed to effect change, and she encourages people to write to their Statehouse representatives both at their offices and their homes.

The keynote speaker was Susan Bro. Her daughter, Heather Heyer, was murdered while counter-protesting a white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017.

Bro spoke about the importance of voting, and creating a dialogue ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“We have to reach the male population as advocates and allies. We have to reach out to the immigrant population and say we care, we’re here, we’re supportive. We have to reach out. We cannot take our knowledge, our experience, our education, our understanding and hold it just within our own little group.”

Other speakers included State Senator Nickie Antonio of Lakewood and State Representative Juanita Brent of Cleveland. Organizers say attendance may have been impacted by the weather, but they estimate that more than one-thousand people attended the event. More than 400 people also attended the women’s march in Akron.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.